HONG KONG - Credit Suisse's securities brokerage joint venture in China said its staff numbers sank 46% in 2023, a year the Swiss authorities arranged a takeover to keep the firm from collapsing.

Credit Suisse Securities (China) Ltd said in an annual report dated Tuesday that employee numbers were 126 at the end of December, down from 234 a year earlier.

The Chinese venture made several rounds of layoffs last year in an attempt to stem losses, Reuters has reported.

The Swiss authorities hastily arranged the takeover of Credit Suisse by cross-town rival UBS in the biggest bank merger since the 2008 global financial crisis.

UBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the merger was announced in March 2023, Credit Suisse put the China unit up for sale.

The unit reported its operating loss narrowed to 199 million yuan ($27.5 million) last year from 255 million yuan in 2022.

Bloomberg News reported this month that UBS was in talks to acquire full ownership of its China platform by swapping its holding in Credit Suisse's onshore securities venture with a Beijing government investment fund.

($1 = 7.2401 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Selena Li in Hong Kong; Writing by Engen Tham; Editing by William Mallard)